Category Archives: Box

AppFusions is excited for IBM ConnectED 2015 – Orlando

440x220_2z_11-12For our fourth consecutive year at this IBM social business conference, AppFusions is pleased to be digging in deeper as a Silver Sponsor, further cementing our belief in connected systems and reduced silos given the social business/collaboration movement sweeping enterprises across the world.

9 of us from the AppFusions team will be attending the IBM ConnectED 2015 conference in Orlando, on January 25th-28th. We can’t wait to share our new and updated product releases with customers and IBMers alike.

IBMConnectED2015_AppFusionsThis year, we’ll be demo’ing both new and updated packaged integrations for IBM Connections V5 and Sametime V9. You can find us at Booth S4.

Cloud File Management Integrations with IBM Connections

Video here – yet development continues too! :) 

These integrations allow you to seamlessly authenticate, access, preview, download, upload, display all your cloud files, directly from within IBM Connections.

IBM-Integrations-Graphic-Connections-Wordpress-AtlassianWordPress with IBM Connections

Video here – yet development continues too! :) 

  • WordPress in IBM Connections V5 Extended!

This integration allows you to post your WordPress blogs directly to your IBM Connections community. Further, activity streams are logged, and IBM Connections business cards are displayed for the WordPress authors.

Atlassian Integrations with IBM Connections

Video here – yet development continues too! :) 

  • Immersive for Atlassian JIRA, in IBM Connections V5 Extended!
  • Immersive for Atlassian Confluence, in IBM Connections V5 • Extended!
  • Immersive for Atlassian Stash, in IBM Connections V5 • New!
  • Immersive for Atlassian Bamboo, in IBM Connections V5 • New!

These integrations bring your Atlassian systems into IBM Connections. All from within IBM Connections, you have powerful advanced search capabilities into all the different Atlassian applications, native IBM business cards in Atlassian applications, you can create a JIRA issue directly or share it, access and interact with Atlassian applications’ live activity streams, and more. AppFusions have been developing these integrations since 2013.

Atlassian Integrations with IBM Sametime

  • IBM Sametime V9 in Atlassian JIRA • Updated!
  • IBM Sametime V9 in Atlassian Confluence • Updated!
  • IBM Sametime V9 in Atlassian Stash • Updated!
  • IBM Sametime V9 in Atlassian Bamboo • Updated!
  • IBM Sametime V9 in Atlassian FishEye • Updated!

These integrations allow you to run rich IBM Sametime chat sessions, with context, from inside your Atlassian systems. These integrations have been supported since 2012.

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AppFusions will have two demo pods, so we hope you will stop by to check these out and/or to discuss with us your use cases or other possibilities for IBM Connections integrations.

Note: All AppFusions’ integrations are for sale as packaged supported solutions. As you grow and evolve, as well as your systems, so also do your AppFusions’ integrations. We’re right there with you on your integrated social business/collaboration journey.


GoldenGateBridgeSmallAppFusions senior integrations experts build supported use-case driven integrations between some of the most popular collaboration tools in the industry. Our integrations are not just web-links. AppFusions’ solutions bridge systems with enhanced user experiences so you can work faster and better.

With over 50 packaged integrations, and counting, AppFusions solutions quickly solve common yet tough pain point integration challenges by bridging together Atlassian Software, IBM Connections and Sametime, Jive software, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Egnyte, Alfresco, Microsoft OneDrive, Yammer and Parature, Lingotek (translations), single sign-on solutions (SAML2, Kerberos, OAuth2), UserVoice, and more.

Enterprise 2.0 Innovate 2012 Notes: Living the Hybrid Enterprise

I am pleased to attend Enterprise 2.0 Innovate on the West Coast for the first time. It is occurring November 12 – 15 in Santa Clara Convention Center. Here my notes from this year’s Enterprise 2.0 2012 conference in Boston. Here are my notes from the workshop: Living the Hybrid Enterprise: How to Plan for, Implement, and Manage a Mixed On-Demand and On-Premise Enterprise, led by Josh Greenbaum, Principal, Enterprise Applications Consulting. Here is the workshop description.

“The end of software never happened, but the end of the pure on-premise enterprise is upon us. More and more companies are looking to create a hybrid enterprise that combines the best of on-premise and on-demand software and services. This workshop will help companies identify the right mix of people, process, technology, software and services to help them get started with building and living in a hybrid enterprise.

Defining the Hybrid Enterprise: tales from the front line. The first part of the workshop will showcase examples of hybrid enterprises and discuss the benefits and challenges of a hybrid strategy. Included will be real world examples of how companies mix and match their on-demand and on-premise software and services to meet their business objectives.

 The role of new and old technology in the hybrid enterprise.

This second part of the workshop provided guidance on how companies can evaluate the role of existing and new technologies, software, and services in the hybrid enterprise. This included guidance on how to manage the hybrid opportunity for existing suite and best of breed software as well new and emerging technologies in mobility, analytics, and other key areas.

The hybrid enterprise and the human component. Creating a hybrid enterprise isn’t just a technology decision, it also requires new thinking and processes about how to deploy human resources – both internal and external – in new and different ways. This final part of the workshop will help companies understand the challenges and opportunities that are part of the human element of the hybrid enterprise.”

Josh began open the session that will be a three-part event with panels. First, living in the hybrid enterprise, then implementing the hybrid enterprise, and finally the human factors issues in dealing with the hybrid enterprise. The hybrid enterprise has been a continuous evolution. The cloud started over a dozen years ago.  On-premise and on-demand were kept separate.  We have come a long way in our thinking. However, there are still multiple silos of disconnected functionality. There needs to be a hybrid world with connectivity and integration.

The hybridization of IT is also creating a more hybrid workspace.  There is more accessibility to people and content that is location independent. This will be a PowerPoint free session and I like this approach. However, I may have some name spellings wrong with the absence of PowerPoint and did not get everyone’s name.

Charlene Woo from Varian offered her company as a case example first. Charlene’s company started in the 1940s as one of the first companies in the Silicon Valley and it does medical technologies and is growing. They are a big SAP shop so much technology is on-premise. They recently expanded into talent management solutions. The business wanted the cloud solution and picked SucessFactors. Then SuccessFactors was bought by SAP.  So now they need to support a hybrid solution.

They already had some cloud solutions such as their learning management system but the talent management was the biggest so far.  They have recently gone live with several SuccessFactors modules that are cloud based.  The entre company is using both could and hybrid.  The cloud apps are actually more widespread than the on-premise apps because of the reach of their content. The SuccessFactors system and the learning management system are used by all employees, and even some business partners.

Their mission critical apps such as finance and sales are still on-premise. Their cloud-based talent management apps are fed with employee data from the employee data from the on-premise SAP system. Right now this is a one-way data flow.  They want to move to a more two-way flow.  The impact of moving to the cloud solution has more of an impact on IT than on end users. This is a cultural change for IT. The IT people were used to supporting SAP, and now they were giving up some of the support to the cloud vendor.

There is now a change management concern and insecurity on the part of many IT people. What will happen next?  At the same time, if IT does not meet the business needs, the business will not partner with internal IT and get their own solution. IT needs to adopt new skills and play a different role. They cannot dictate the technology any more.  IT cannot insist on on-premise anymore. There is also a need for new skills. They did implement SuccessFactors with internal staff.

Now HR plays a stronger role in supporting the cloud application rather than IT. HR needed to come up with the resources for this.  This requirement needs to be planned for. They have moved from a recipient of services to a provider. HR is enjoying the freedom of choice that this responsibility brings. However, this additional requirement for resources did not sink in until the system went live.  IT needs to play a leadership role in letting the business anticipate these new requirements.

Working with a cloud vendor is different than working with internal IT. The outside vendor may not know the company culture and goals. They also have different agendas. This requires good oversight of the vendor. IT can play a role here. Need to have a three way partnership of internal IT, internal business unit, and external vendor. IT can add value here.

Next, a three-part panel covered more of the details on hybrid solutions. There

was someone from Box (Dan O’Leary). He works with clients on custom solutions. The next person works for e2open (David Hale) that provides software that support large clients with supply chain solutions like IBM and Boeing. The third person works for Cognizant (Gareth Patterson). He focuses on the strategy of cloud.

Josh asked the panel how to get the cloud connected within the enterprise. What are some of the issues for enterprise versus consumer solutions? The Box guy said the product is easy to launch so the technology is not the hard part. It is more issues like governance that take time. Also how does Box fit within the enterprise stack?

The e2open guy said there service is on-demand and it serves mission critical tasks. So if it goes down, they hear about it quickly.  Single sign on is one key for them, as well as security. Also, how does their service integrate with other enterprise apps?

The Cognizant guy mentioned that many cloud apps have up to 80 integration points. This is a complex task. These integration points can be a major challenge. Do not underestimate this task. Also, you need oversight so large hosting bills do not get run up without an awareness.

The Box guy said their goal is to be the enterprise content layer. That drives their cloud strategy. Each organization needs to keep their main strategy in mind when dealing with the cloud.

The e2open guy tried to explain the cloud to his son and his wife mentioned time-sharing from 40 years ago. This stuff is not new. Users should not have to care where a service is located. The panel agreed that there are hybrid aspects to most situations.  This reminds me of how Fats Domino said that rock and roll was just a new marketing strategy for rhythm and blues. This is the case for many technology “changes” and yet, at the same time, there are some new aspects, new audiences, and some new contexts just as there was with rock and roll.

The Box guy said one important issue is how to classify data and content as what needs to be secure. This is especially an issue with the type of unstructured data that Box supports.  Their clients need to do this. When new employees come to Box, the first thing they get is a two-hour security briefing.  They also let their clients know about the risks within the cloud.  The e2open guy that they specify that certain types of data should not be sent to then to put in the cloud. The Box guy said that one of their main use cases is to replace Drop Box when there has been a security leak.

The Box guy said there is a Cloud Security Alliance that has certification criteria. It’s mission statement is to “To promote the use of best practices for providing security assurance within Cloud Computing, and provide education on the uses of Cloud Computing to help secure all other forms of computing.”

The Cognizant guy said that in his company no one monitors his Drop Box and his Box usage is monitored.  Josh said there is only so much you can do for security and people can go around safe guards if they want to do this.  The Box guy talked the balance of ease of use and security. First, he said do not compare to perfect but to alternatives. Box allows clients to control access. Personally, he has access to forty systems with single sign on but he also has three-factor security.

After the break, the Paul Brody, CTO of Social Communication Company (Sococo), demoed a team collaboration space that provides for ongoing virtual connection.  Sococo Teamspace. We can see all of his colleagues on the right and their status. You can see a map of their company in a virtual space and see where everyone is located.  There are individual offices and conference rooms.

Everyone has an avatar and it tells you about the state of the person. For example, if you put on your headset that means you are available for audio.  You can see when he is talking and how far the voice goes. He can close his door to let everyone knows they have to knock on his door to hear what he is saying. He brought someone into his office for a conversation just by tapping on his avatar.

With the virtual office you can see what everyone is doing all day long. If the door is open you can drop in on conversations. If the door is closed you have to knock.  The virtual office does not have to map to the actual physical office so you have freedom to design the virtual environment anyway you want. There can be private spaces that others cannot see.  It also works on the iPhone and they are working on other mobile devices.

You can share things on a screen in a virtual conference room. They can also integrate apps like Salesforce and Box.  Everyone in the room can see the screen and the content it portrays. This sharing can occur in an office or a conference room. The virtual space can be designed to reflect work flow with different rooms have names for steps in the workflow. Video can be portrayed, including the other people in the conversation.

Next, Tony Bryne from the Real Story Group and Gareth Patterson joined the Sococo guy to form a panel. Tony said the key issue is less the visualization of the environment but rather embedding the right communication services in the app.  United communications needs to be aligned to tasks. Tony liked the simplicity of the visualization in the Sococo app as that degree of realism might distract in the enterprise environment.

The Sococo guy said that communication services needs to be a layer that underlies all apps. I would agree. All communication tools are derivative of the telephone. They are transactional and you do not see context. We need new metaphors that is why they created their visualization.

Gareth said that there has been a shift in building a company toward pulling together services and starting quickly.  There is trend toward to good enough sooner rather than perfect that takes along time. Traditional IT wanted perfect which got in the way of possible.

The Sococo guy said that every new customer wants a pilot for 30 – 60 days. They can set up a pilot in a few minutes and they can quickly modify it.  So you can fail fast and refine what you need.

Josh said that the word culture keeps coming up. Tony said that we need to humanize the digital workplace. As software tools were developed it was often assumed that people were robots. This is why people go offline often. We need to make people more effective in their jobs rather than try to change their behavior.

Gareth said we need to redo corporate IT. People there are often bored because there are too many obstacles. Josh wondered if IT will shrink or shift. People do not say they do not need IT any more. Josh gave the example of the replacement of Wang word processors with PCs. Some people thought there would be no more secretaries. Actually some roles and skills simply shifted but headcount did not go down.

I was involved in a study of the office of the future for a pharma company that was moving its home office around the time this shift occurred. They were planning their resource requirements for the new location. The company did change and went from a one to one manager to secretary model to a dramatic reduction in the number of secretaries as they moved to a one secretary to many managers model. I am not sure this applies to IT but I do want to offer a counter to the analogy. I wonder how much the cloud and the rise of business self-service will affect corporate IT headcount. Maybe they will get jobs in the business units supporting self-service.

It was a useful panel that raised a lot of issues to consider.

Box Provides Comprehensive Collaboration and Extensive Application Integration to Enhance its Content Management Offering

Box provides secure online content management and has been getting a lot of press recently. I covered Box a few years ago (see Box.net Updates Interface and Becomes More Social) but much has happen since then, so it was great to speak with Jeremy Glassenberg, Platform Manager at Box to get an update.

Jeremy’s role involves planning for new developer tools and API methods. He also works on partner integrations and helps to support customers on internal integration projects.

Jeremy Glassenberg, Platform Manager at Box.com

I first asked Jeremy for his perspective on the market excitement that Box has generated. He said that Box offers a good solution to a lot of customers. It makes it easy to move content to the cloud in a secure manner and provides a means for collaboration around this content.  Box has developed a good system for customer feedback to continue to update the product.

In addition, their CEO, Aaron Levie, has gained a reputation as a great industry spokesperson who brings a lot of fun to his communication; so his presence has enhanced their press coverage. On Twitter, Aaron describes himself as the Lead Magician (and CEO). A sampling of his tweets confirms the fun factor.

We next dove a bit more into the Box offering.

Box in the Cloud files

Box was started in 2005 as a file storage system but has grown well beyond that initial capability.  There is an intuitive interface that allows you to send links to stored content in a secure manner. Box also provides collaboration capabilities around stored content. For example, a team can have their own folder and provide comments on content, assign tasks, and most recently, provide feedback through a new “like” function. Box is also integrated into numerous mobile apps, desktop apps and web services.

I asked Jeremy to expand on their integration strategy.

He said that Box wants to be accessible anywhere a user needs them so integration is an important component of the company’s strategy. He sees three types of integrations.
  • First there are partners with their own platforms, where Box has built and continues to maintain the integrations. Those integrations are under a continuous cycle of review and iteration.
  • Second, Box provides support for an external developer community working with the Box API for a wide range of integrations.
  • And finally, there are Enterprise customers who have their own integration needs using Box services.
Box in JIRA – link, preview, edit your Box documents, all from JIRA

AppFusions worked with Box to develop packaged integrations with Atlassian Confluence and JIRA. For the Confluence integration, users can access, preview, embed, edit, upload, and monitor Box activity – all from Confluence (video | listing). The JIRA integration allows for JIRA issues to be linked to Box files directly, as well as previewed, edited, or downloaded, while never leaving JIRA (video | listing).

The integrations are available via Box Apps, and Atlassian Marketplace. AppFusions will also be releasing their Box integrations with Atlassian OnDemand, expected later this calendar year.

Jeremy said he was impressed with both the technical competence and depth of AppFusions’ integrations. He also spoke of the also good attention to the user experience, creating UIs that make sense for the business users.

Box’s success is another validation of the mass migration to the cloud. If you can provide a secure application, business relevant features, and extensive integration capabilities, CIOs and other enterprise leaders will overcome their concerns and make the move to the cloud for its nimble and cost-effective qualities.

 

Where AppFusions Fits – Connecting the Enterprise

Before we describe the place of AppFusions in the new world of Enterprise 2.0, it is useful to go back to look at the Enterprise 1.0 world which is still current for many.

Enterprise 1.0 – “A Single System For All”

In the Enterprise 1.0 world, large ERP systems claiming to be  a “single system for all” integrated many (if not all) departments and functions across a company into a single computer system.  They attempted to serve all the different department needs, running the business, successfully in some places, and not so successfully in others. These systems bridged the needs of products, customers, employees, and suppliers. (Below image from this excellent slideshare by Samuel Driessen.)

Credits: Samuel Driessen

For many years, this cross-functional single-uber-system was thought to be the ultimate glue to solve all problems: the silver bullet solution to propel corporations fast forward in their business success.

However, despite best intentions, these lofty goals were hard ones to meet in a single system, given many mixed audiences and purposes between departments.

  • Cross-functionally, departments wanted to control (customize) their workflow.
  • While ERP systems were configurable out of the box – to a point – in most cases, they required costly customization SLAs to develop or configure the workflow exactly how a department wanted it.
  • Data integrations to other systems were extremely expensive ($50K – $200K+), given the reliance on niche technical knowledge in closed systems.
  • All integrations were like “black magic”, requiring ongoing support and vendor reliance without a natural support path.
  • Integrations where time-consuming and costs could be as much five times the software fees.
  • Over time, specialty purpose-driven or “rogue” systems crept into organizations (large or small), as department heads rebelled against the rigid IT uber-system, and shopped for their own systems to meet their department needs.

For the companies that succeeded in their ERP deployments, they paid dearly in implementation costs, yet also they got bigger and faster with these large system infrastructures. For a while, they enjoyed a competitive edge in their locked-down systems.

Credits: Bertrand Duperrin

In such organizations [2], the general top-down management attitude was:

  • this is how it will be,
  • we do not really want to hear your opinion, and,
  • no, you cannot change the process or system (without an enormous amount of additional churn, cost, pain – to which we have no more money to expend).

Employees were forced to adopt the new inflexible systems, a change that often felt like steps back even from their slower, yet functional desktop processes.

Compounded with normal human resistance to change, the new systems were not always warmly received. People had to conform to rigid systems, rather than having flexible systems built around how people worked best.

The enormous level of cross-functional process coordination upfront, as well as the long term support for these systems, was often more crippling than helping. The systems had the potential to control corporate data in a better/faster way than previous manual ways, but it held employees hostage in so many other ways, and caused new problems organizationally.

Politics and internal fights evolved to ever high levels as employees felt duped when the new systems didn’t really do everything that they thought it would, and no customizations were allowed. If a department absolutely required customizations, they’d have to take the heavy cost hit in their departmental budget (not ITs), let alone the time-hit to implement (e.g., another 6 months often, assuming it got done before some other organizational crisis hit).

Companies would endure the growth of excessive politics, mistrust, and infighting causing systematic morale issues and lower productivity. Employee dissatisfaction grew at a higher than normal rate, as well as distrust for management who forced the new monster system on them in the first place (even if it was justified at the time given where technology was at).

In short – it was a vicious and often ugly cycle, especially for large corporations enduring these growing pains.

Outside the Enterprise 1.0 World, the Beginnings of Enterprise 2.0 Technology Moved Forward

Meanwhile, the open source movement had gained “officialness” in 1998 thanks to Netscape (Mozilla), and during the 2000s, the open source trend and collaborative engineering mindset grew more popular with the growth of Linux, further proving the value of both iterative agile engineering, open APIs, rapid development methodologies, and at the communications level – transparent collaboration.

Concurrently, the Internet was taking off well beyond the Silicon Valley, thanks to Yahoo! (1995), Google (1998) going big/global (as well as Microsoft with Internet Explorer). For the Enterprise, early pioneers Jive Software, SocialText, and Atlassian Software were founded in 2001 and 2002, respectively – three corps that would become pioneers in the Enterprise collaboration tools space in the years to come.

Atlassian also would become a leader in many of the open source stirred trends, namely agile development, ALM, engineering tools, and issue tracking, while boldly treading on common industries lead by big heavyweights like IBM, HP, and Microsoft, among others.

Overall – the timing of these new Enterprise collaboration businesses couldn’t have been better, overlapping with early social sites like MySpace (2003), Delicious (2003), Facebook (2004), Digg (2005), Twitter (2006), FriendFeed (2007), and a strong new-way-to-business Millenials culture pushing into industry with all their might.

The collective force was a perfect storm, landing down on a smug and controlling decades old proprietary industry and decades old command-and-control management styles.

By late 2009, open collaboration and social networking was no longer an idle idea.

It was a fast moving trend and way of the future, that had proven the beginnings of enormous business value for getting things done faster in the Enterprise. Concrete data began to emerge on the quantified value of these new approaches (see The Business Value of Application Connectors).

However, to be successful in the new world, people-centered Enterprise 2.0 apps need to connect with the old world transactional-centered Enterprise 1.0 systems. They needed to connect to each other to avoid establishing even more silos within organizations.

While AppFusions does not really believe in the legacy gigantic one-size-fits-all system ideal, at the same time we know that in most cases, these systems are largely not going away.

The new social systems of engagement still need to connect to the old world transaction systems to get work done.

AppFusions Bridges the Gap with Enterprise 2.0 Content Management Integration Connectors

We believe that business information and process management should be handled by a collection of systems that make up a whole. To make this happen, connectivity is the key driver. It is the glue that makes real work happen. It brings the benefits of social systems to work processes.

Modular system architectures in the Enterprise – from the same vendor or many vendors – provide greater flexibility, while also allowing organizations to pick and choose the best-of-breed systems for their purposes.

There are reasons for purpose-built systems, and a collection of many we feel is stronger than a single rigid system, especially if you can connect the strengths (data and workflows) of the different systems with common use case connectors vs. getting on an endless customization path.

Our integration connectors (current and future) bring together workflows, data files, and information between Enterprise systems for your collective purpose-built Enterprise 2.0 corporate solution of many systems. They allow companies to quickly and cost-effectuvely create the needed connectivity without going through the old-world pain of massive, costly, and time consuming integration efforts.

These connectors provide the means to close the gap between old and new, enabling the promise and opportunity within the capabilities of the new people-centered, social systems.

This blog will become the vehicle to tell this story and provide use cases demonstrating the essential nature of connectors.

Post by Ellen Feaheny, CEO of AppFusions